Time Space & Chg Human Soc (D)
Time Space & Chg Human Soc (D) ISS 220
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Buster Heller on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ISS 220 at Michigan State University taught by William Lovis in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see /class/207749/iss-220-michigan-state-university in Integrative Studies Social Sci at Michigan State University.
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Date Created: 09/19/15
Chapter 7 Learning about the past The Material Record 1 The anthropology of the past Archaeology and physical anthropology a Archaeology is simply that branch of anthropology focusing on the human cultural past i Study a people through analysis of what they left behind ii Aim to understand how ancient people lived not simply to collect interesting antiques b Paleoanthropologists deal with the skeletal remains of people i Interested in how and why human biology changed over the more than 6million years we and our uprightwalking ancestors have been around 2 Where The process of finding sites a To know where prehistoric people settled it is necessary to find the material remnants of their existence i Archaeological sites 1 Locations where humans once lived or worked and where their traces were left behind and have been preserved a These traces are in the form of artifacts i Any object made by humans b Features i A nonportable element of a site composed of artifacts 1 Ex grave or a fireplace b Archaeological site survey the actual process of finding sites i Many important archaeological sites were found by accidentally by people engaged in nonarchaeological pursuits c The archaeologist must consider a constellation of environmental variables to isolate the kinds of areas were sites are most likely to be found i Background research paves the way for the field survey 1 The process of discovering archaeological sites i Archeologists can apply techniques of 1 Remote sensing a Noninvasive examination of sites where no soil is removed iii Electrical resistivity survey 1 A noninvasive procedure used in archaeological prospecting in which an electrical current is passed through the ground Variations in resistance to the current may signal the location of archaeological artifacts or features iv Proton magnetometry 1 A noninvasive procedure used in archaeological prospecting in which a proton magnetometer measures the strength of the earth s magnetic field at the surface Variations in that magnetic field may signal the location of buried remains including walls and foundations v Ground penetrating radar GPG A noninvasive procedure used in archaeological prospecting in which an electromagnetic pulse is passed through soil Variations in the pulse as it reflects off buried objects may signal the location of archaeological remains a Above ground use of radar vi Where prehistoric people have left above ground structures of relatively resilient material can be discovered simply by visual inspection of the surface d Nature itself has conducted its own kind of excavation through erosion i Olduvai gorge Africa e Most prehistoric sites have been buried by natural processes of deposition f Archaeologists may sample an area by excavating i Test borings 1 A small excavation to establish the presence of an archaeological site often a narrow column of soil extracted by the use of a hollow metal tube ii Soundings 1 A test excavation usually a small pit or column dug to expose stratigraphic layers and to search for archaeological material a Test pit iii Archaeologists select a place to dig based simply on the desire to cover a given area 1 Compliance archaeology a Archaeological research mandated by government regulations aimed at historic and environmental preservation iv Areas may be tested by investigation of a random and representative sample of an area 1 Random sample a Randomly selected points within a research area tested for the presence of archaeological material with the goal of obtaining a representive sample of sites in a region 2 Representative sample a A small sample of a large population in which the characteristics of the sample ages sizes activates functions ect proportionally match those found in the overall population v Test pits are placed according to a number of different sampling strategies 1 Placed at regular intervals a Transect i A line of systematically located test borings 3 What Recovering Archeological data a Archaeologists need to be meticulous and exacting in excavation Using small hand tools i Want to preserve their 1 Spatial contexts Where and with what an artifact is found in a site ii Where it was found 1 Provenience the precise location of an artifact iii What it was found with 1 Associations a The spatial relationships of artifacts one to another iv Provides crucial information about the behavior of ancient people b Ordinarily a site is segmented into grids or squares often 1 or 2 meters on a side i Excavation units are dug individually or in clusters 1 Individual dug sections at an archaeological site c When possible artifacts encountered in excavation re left in place i In situ 1 In place an artifact or feature that remains in its exact place of discovery d The careful recording of all information is crucial for reconstructing what took place at the site from the often meager remains left behind 4 When Dating the past a Stratigraphy i The study of the origin composition and sequence of the layering of the earth s soil The history of the earth is written in its rock and soil iii Soil is often in distinguishable layers or may develop such layers later The layering may result from different sources or Parent materials 1 The source material for a particular soil iv Layering may also result from different conditions of deposition 1 Layering develops as a result of specific chemical and biological actions of various plants extracting nutrients from the soil v Law of superposition 1 The principle of Stratigraphy that barring disturbances more recent layers are superimposed over older ones vi Relative chronological sequence 1 A sequence arranged in older to younger relationship without the assignment of specific dates vii Many of the objects people make and use eventually become incorporated into the soil beneath their feet viii Not only is the history of the earth written in the soil so too is the history of humanity b Chronometric techniques i Techniques that enable them to derive actual dates from material chronometric and absolute dating techniques not necessarily precise 1 A dating technique in which an actual age or range of years can be applied to archaeological objects or sites C Radiometric dating i A chronometric dating technique using the decay rate of a radioactive substance 1 Radioactive isotope a An unstable form of an element that decays to a stable form by giving off radiation b A variety of an element that is not in balance andgiven sufficient timewill decay or morph into another i Decay transpires at a fixed pace 2 Ecofact a An element found in an archaeological context that exhibits human activity but was not made by people and so is not strictly speaking an artifact 3 Scientists can measure the rate of decay of most radioactive isotopes a They can also measure how much of the radioactive isotope is left in a given archaeological biological or geological specimen 4 Radioactive carbon a Provides the raw material for radiocarbon dating i A radiometric technique using the decay rate of a radioactive isotope of carbon found in organic remains b The rate at which a radioactive isotope decays is called its Half life the amount of time needed for half of a radioactive isotope to decay to a stable one C Is a destructive technique Accelerator mass spectrometry 1 AMS A technique in radiocarbon dating in which the actual number of c14 atoms is counted 2 Extended the upper range of carbon dating 70000 years The amount of carbon in the atmosphere has changed significantly over at least the last 10000 to 20000 years 1 Can make things appear older or younger than they really are iv Potassiumargon KAr dating 1 A radiometric technique using the decay rate of radioactive potassium found in volcanic rock into stable argon v ArgonArgon dating 1 A recent refinement of potassiumargon dating Measures the decay of one isotope of gas argon into another 2 Measure the age of volcanic rock 3 Virtually no upper limit 4 Not good for things that are young vi Uranium series 1 Dating based on the calibration of decay of uranium isotopes and their various daughter isotopes and elements including thorium and protactinium vii Electron spin resonance esr dating 1 Based on measuring the buildup of electrons in crystalline materials 2 Used on thousand year old teeth viii Dendrochronology 1 A dating technique using treering sequences 2 Very accurate 3 By overlapping ring sequences of living tress with those of old dead trees a master sequence of treering width variation over many years can be developed a The general and relatively consistent pattern of treering width variation over time within a region 4 Corresponds exactly to the actual calendar year in which the ring was formed 5 Calibration curve a The curve derived for correlation of treering and radiocarbon dates ix Cultural Techniques 1 A dating technique using cultural comparisons 2 Based on style of architecture or artifacts found there 3 Also measure the rates of change and gauge how quickly styles replace each other by a process called seriation a Establishing a relative chronological sequence using pattern of replacement of artifact styles 5 How Reconstruction past life ways a Ethnoarchaeology Observing living peoples to understand how archaeological records are produced Focus on how human behavior becomes translated into the archaeological record iquot Anthropologists who live with a people to understand their way of life are performing ethnography 1 The intensive study and description of a particular culture 2 Archaeologists trying to understand an ancient way of life are performing paleothnography 1 Reconstructing a past cultural system through archaeological remains b Technology i The study of prehistoric technology involves figuring out how past people made the things they used and how they used them 1 Historical record is once source of data C d V Direct historical approach 1 The historically recorded behavior of descendents of a group whose archaeological remains are being studied is used as the source for models or analogies in an attempt to understand the ancient culture Ethnographic analogy 1 Relaying on the written descriptions of people who lived ways of life generally similar to those of the ancient people Experimentation 1 Wear patterns a A mark indicative of certain uses left on a tool i Bronze Age 1 Denmark remake Environment Diet lt lt Changes in worldwide climate can be recognized through an analysis of the ratio of two isotopes of oxygen in seawater 1 This effectively depletes the ocean of some of its 016 changing the ratio of the two isotopes Foraminifera 1 Microscopic marine organisms whose exoskeletons are used in oxygen isotope analysis Palynology 1 The identification of plants through their preserved pollen remains 2 Also can be used with recovering pollen a Provides an insight on climate Food remains still present in archaeological sites 1 Fireplaces hearths garbage heaps a Midden i A pile of trash produced by the inhabitants of a settlement Flotation test 1 Soil matrix and archaeological material are separated by the use of water Comparative collection 1 A quotlibraryquot of animal bones or seeds and nuts used for comparison with archaeological specimens Examining the animal remains found at a site is called faunal analysis 1 An examination of animal remains from archaeological sites Taphonomy 1 lnvolves the analysis of how bones become part of the archaeological or paleontological record 2 Crucial consideration when trying to generate and test hypotheses concerning the behavior of an ancient people vi General information about diet can sometimes be gathered from an animal s skeletal remains 1 Chemical content of ancient bones can be examined for their proportion of strontium and calcium to determine whether plants or meat made up the bulk of the diet of a certain populations 2 Plants produce a mineral residue consisting of microscopic particles called phytoliths a Microscopic fragments of opal silica produced in plant cells It enables researchers to identify plants that grew in an area and those that may have been used by ancient humans or human ancestors b Can be quite durable vii Carbon isotope analysis 1 Can also be used to identify diet patterns in some cases 2 Used on some human bone viii Paleofecces 1 Preserved fecal remains ix Coprolites 1 Fossilized feces useful in reconstructing a paleodiet e Social Systems Reconstruction of social systems is possible because objects that people make and use were made used and discarded within a social context The Arikara Native Americans who lived in what is now Nebraska were matriliocal 1 A type of society in which a married couple lives with the wife s family iquot Postmarital residence 1 Where a new couple lives after they marry a Patrilocal i A type of society in which a married couple lives with the husband s family f Trade The movement of materials and people i Petrographic analysis 1 Examination of the morphology of a lithic source by analysis of thin slices of rock ii Artifact s raw material with its particular source 1 Trace element analysis a Determining the source of a material by identifying small amounts of impurities iii Neutron activation analysis g 1 A procedure that revels the chemical signature for a raw material Used to associate and artifact with the source from which its raw material originated Ideology Is a nonmaterial abstract aspect of human existence What we do also takes place within the context of an ideological system 1 Human beings do not compartmentalize their lives Burial rituals 1 Tools are food often put in graves 2 Information about social status trade religion and even economics is contained in burials 6 Who Identifying the remains of human ancestors a Concerned with issues such as cause of death b Species identification and definition C e lt A survey of comparative osteology 1 The study of bones of different species Many universities maintain comparative bone collections so that a bone or bone fragments that cannot be readily identified can be compared with similar ones from many species until a match is found Scientists classify living animals on the basis of morphology and behavior A species is defined as a group of animals in which fertile male and females can mate and produce fertile offspring Naming fossil species and assigning specimens to a species then are difficult and imperfect tasks Age Actual DNA has been recovered from ancient remains 1 Human bones from Illinois dated to more than 600ya 2 Mitochondrial DNA 3 DNA deterioration makes species identification impossible in ancient specimens Human beings exhibit sexual dimorphism 1 The anatomical features that distinguish the sexes of a species 2 Pelvis of the male tends to be larger and more rugged 3 Female pelvis tends to be wider No absolute criteria can be applied to sexing a skeleton or for that matter most other forms of skeletal analysis By determining which changes have already occurred and which have yet to occur in a given set of remains research can approximate a persons are at death 1 Dental remains 2 Bone sutures in skull a A line of contact between the bones of the skull